UKIP is a magnet for unhappy Tory voters but it's much, much more than Europe that's driving the dissatisfaction
By Tim Montgomerie
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The man who spends more on opinion polling than all of the three biggest political parties combined has conducted another landscape survey. This time more than 20,000 people were interviewed last month in order to assess the strength, composition and nature of UKIP's rise. Lord Ashcroft writes about his poll on our Comment pages but in this post I summarise seven of the main findings as I see them.
- Tory defectors have powered UKIP's rise: 12% of those who voted Conservative in 2010 say they would vote UKIP in an election tomorrow, as would 1% of those who voted Labour and 7% of those who voted Liberal Democrat. In rough terms that means 1.3 million Tory voters have defected to UKIP. 86,000 Labour voters have defected and nearly half-a-million Lib Dems. At least temporarily.
- Twice as many Tories would consider voting UKIP as Labour voters: 50% of those who would consider voting UKIP voted Conservative at the 2010 general election. 22% voted Labour, 21% voted Liberal Democrat.
- UKIP-minded voters clearly prefer the Conservatives and Cameron to Labour and Miiband: UKIP considerers would prefer a Conservative government to the current Coalition by 60% to 40% and 2010's UKIP voters do so by 66% to 34%. UKIP considerers are much more likely to prefer Cameron and Osborne over Miliband and Balls (64% to 36%) to manage the economy than voters as a whole (52% to 48%). 60% of UKIP considerers prefer Cameron to Miliband as PM compared to 48% to 38% for the population as a whole.
- People are choosing UKIP for psychological rather than policy reasons: UKIP considerers are most likely to say the party’s “heart is in the right place”, that it is “on the side of people like me”, “shares my values”, “stands for fairness” and – especially – that it “says things that need to be said but others are scared to say”.
- Immigration more potent than Europe for UKIP-minded voters: More than half (52%) of UKIP considerers named “controlling immigration” as one of the three most important issues facing Britain, compared to 41% of Conservatives and 39% of voters generally. Just over a quarter (27%) of UKIP considerers say “resolving Britain’s future relations with the European Union” is one of the three most important issues currently facing the country. This compares to 17% of voters as a whole. 7% of UKIP considerers said resolving Britain’s relations with the EU was the single most important issue facing the country.
- There are five top reasons why people are voting UKIP:
- They want the big parties to notice their concerns about Europe and immigration;
- They agree with UKIP's policy on immigration;
- UKIP would "take Britain back to a time when things were done more sensibly:'
- The big parties prefer "trendy nonsense" to "listening to ordinary people";
- Britain should leave the EU.
- Smearing UKIP is not a good electoral tactic: UKIP considerers are more likely than not to disagree that UKIP would represent a wasted vote, but they firmly reject the arguments that UKIP seem “too right wing”, “a bit racist” or “quite old fashioned”.
The two tables below provide more information on the answers to questions six and seven. Please click on the tables to enlarge them.
Those are the raw results. In the next 24 hours I'll offer some early judgments on them.
Comments on this post are closed. Please use the thread below Lord Ashcroft's article to debate the findings.